How to run Firefox 3.5 on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 was released yesterday. It isn’t (at the time of writing this) available for install through the repos on Ubuntu Jaunty. I guess it will be backported at some stage but should you want to play about with it, here is how I did it so as not to (hopefully) break anything else… [Note: you should probably back up your profile directory before going any further. Something like this should do it: cp -a ~/.mozilla ~/firefox-3.0-backup]

I downloaded the Linux tarball and unpacked it. I moved this directory (called firefox) to my local bin dir:

mv firefox ~/bin/firefox-3.5

This command assumes you are in the same directory as the tarball you just extracted and have a local bin directory. If not just do mkdir ~/bin first.

Then I started the current Firefox Profile Manager and created a new profile just for 3.5 to test (I didn’t want any conflicts or updates to my existing firefox 3 add-ons). To check that you are using the right path for the existing installed Firefox you can do a command like which -a firefox which will give you the full path to any firefox executables on your system and in your path.:

/usr/bin/firefox -no-remote -ProfileManager

Follow the Profile Manager dialogues to create a new profile – I called mine 3.5 amazingly. Exit the profile manager (don’t start firefox or else you’ll end up with the existing firefox also using the 3.5 profile).

Now you can run the 3.5 version of Firefox by typing the following command:

~/bin/firefox-3.5/firefox -no-remote -P 3.5

The -no-remote switch ensures that we start a clean instance of FF from these commands. If you already have an instance of FF running and you do not use this switch, you’ll get another window tied to the same, already running, firefox process. This also affects trying to start firefox remotely over X as I discovered quite some time ago.

I have since created a launcher on the top panel to start FF3.5.

It seems to work OK and feels incredibly fast at loading pages, but trying to run anything that needs flash causes it to die horribly.

So although this isn’t perfect, it was a reasonably safe way to test and just try it out. YMMV of course and I really think we’d all probably be better just waiting for one of the MOTU “Gods” to deliver a 3.5 backport for Jaunty. :-)

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